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Sept. 28, 2006

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Steve Spurrier Post-Game Press Conference Quotes
South Carolina vs. Auburn
Sept. 28, 2006 • Columbia, S.C.

Opening Statement:
“Interesting game. Our mighty offense only had to punt once and we were only out there for three quarters. That’s a first in my career. The onside kick, we’ve got some guys who just don’t think well. The defense played their hearts out. I wish we could play good solid zones, but I don’t have the answer. Syvelle (Newton) had a tremendous game. What a game Kenny McKinley had. We had some tremendous individual performances. A tremendous performance by the entire team would have been good. Auburn is a big, strong team. Defensively, they chose to play a soft zone, so we changed out our game plan completely. The last play they blitzed us; probably should have run a slant. The kid covered (Sidney Rice) well and it didn’t work out. I told the team we’re just not good enough to beat Auburn right now. Hopefully, some day we will be.”

On South Carolina’s offense not touching the ball in the third quarter:
“The third quarter killed us. I’m going to stop talking about it. I don’t know what we need to do. We may blitz the first five plays in the third quarter from now on and either stop them or let them score.

“Two punts by them and one by us, and they scored on two fourth and ones; barely. Auburn had good fortune and we didn’t. We threw the interception to Sidney. We had our chances and dropped one. Jared Cook had that one and didn’t make the play.”

On his patience with the team:
“My patience is pretty good. I’ve watched a lot here in two years. I’ve said it so often, I don’t know what it is. We tried zone and then man-to-man on that third and 23. We need a fierce pass rusher and just don’t have a dominant guy that can come around the edge. Auburn had some good breaks today.”

On whether or not he would have kicked the extra point had USC scored on its final drive of the game:
“We would have kicked it and gotten it into overtime and then see what happens.”

On South Carolina’s improvement:
“We’ve improved since three games ago. Syvelle had a great game. He gave us a chance, and he only played three quarters, so that’s pretty good, but not quite good enough.

“We made six third downs and three of four fourth downs, so we put ourselves in position. I hoped (Syvelle) would have thrown that ball away on second down, but they got us with the blitz. The bottom line is we just aren’t good enough. Kenny McKinley, we thought he had a chance to have a big game tonight and did.”

On Auburn:
“Auburn threw it a little bit. It was a fast game. It just didn’t work out. I’m proud of the effort by our guys. We still have a few that just don’t play smart.

“We did try to throw at Kenny and Sidney. They played pretty well. The only time they got us was the blitz, and we didn’t throw it away a couple of times. Syvelle had a super game. He’s played three games at quarterback and is making a lot of plays.

“We proved we could play a little bit. We were two touchdowns down in the fourth quarter and had good effort. We’ve got some teams we can beat (coming up), but Kentucky and Vandy can also beat us on the road.”

Auburn Head Coach Tommy Tuberville

Opening comments on the game:
“First of all I would like to say that I thought South Carolina played their tail off. With the hand that Coach Spurrier was dealt with from the last group that was here, he has really done a great job. He has kids with a lot of heart and he is doing it the right way. I am glad he rolls off the schedule for a few years. It is tough to win here. It is our first trip here, my first time to play here as a head coach in 12 years. The crowd was into it. I can’t say enough about their football team and the heart and character they played with. Our players recognized that and we knew we were in for a fight from the word go. We were just fortunate to make one more play than they did at the end of the game.

“I am proud of our team. We played hard. We weren’t as consistent and opened up as they were, and it was kind of hit and miss for us. We ran the ball well and we controlled it. We took some chances in the third quarter with the wind in our face after we scored. We felt like the pooch kick would work and keep them off the field. We didn’t have the answer to what they were doing on the offense with their quarterback. He has been out there for two weeks, he looked like he had been out there forever.”

“It was a guessing game on defense. At times we played well and at times we didn’t. Offensively, it almost cost us by going three and out the last time we had the ball. We have to step up. I was disappointed in that. That is part of it. It was a team win and we will take our second victory on the road.”

On SC’s play to Sidney Rice on the last play of the game:
“I am not a rocket scientist but I could pretty much figure out it was going to go to either No. 4 or No. 11. He is tall and fortunately for us, we had our tallest corner on that side. It was a good play call for them, throwing it to the right guy and for us we had the right guy covering.”

On onside kick:
“The wind was blowing real hard in their face. Eddie Gran did a good job in designing the play and looking at it. Our kicker did a good job with it. It just worked. Sometimes they do. I could also be sitting here explaining why it didn’t if it didn’t work. Good for television, but not very good for the heart.”

On keeping possession of the ball the entire third quarter:
“We just happened to have a long drive and kept the ball. We tried to run the clock and milk it because we knew we were having trouble with our offense. We were able to run the third quarter out. That didn’t make a difference though because we gave them the ball the whole fourth quarter.”

South Carolina Player Quotes

Jared Cook
“As long as we come out and play hard everyday and put our minds to it, we can beat anyone. It’s all a mental factor. It’s hard work. That’s all it is.”

(on dropping the pass at the end of the game): “It’s killing me. I’m not gonna lie, but you just gotta get through it and play the next play and play the next game.”

Ryan Brown
“We’re a better team. We know we can compete with anybody. We just gotta make crucial plays. Some plays didn’t go our way. Some plays didn’t go their way.

(on third and long): “We were just hoping to get the ball in or get a first down for the offense. This game did help our confidence. We’ll take that. We showed we won’t lay down for the No. 2 team in the country. It’s about getting better.”

Fred Bennett
“I thought we did a good job tonight. We left everything on the field. We left it all out there tonight. My hats off to Auburn. We have to get better.”

(on third and long – why haven’t you had success?): “I don’t know. Maybe there is a point where it’s a will to get off the field or poor execution on third down. We’ll go back and watch film. The coaches will get it right and we’ll get it right in the huddle.”

(on this game vs. play vs. Wofford win): “A loss is a loss. It hurts the same. We did some positive things and if 1-2 plays go our way, maybe it’s a win. It hurts.”

Tyrone Nix, Defensive Coordinator
“We emphasize getting the players off the field to the defense. We just don’t know how to make plays sometimes (third and long). It’s about getting the job done and getting them prepared (on 19 plays and 13 plays in the third quarter): It’s disappointing tonight because of what we have done it in the last few weeks.”

Syvelle Newton
“It hurts because we were so close. It’s always good to come in, compete hard and play hard. We fell a little short. We have to get ready for the rest of the season. We fell a little short (on throwing to Rice at the end): I noticed he had one-on-one coverage. He is the No. 1 receiver, but we have good receivers here. We have good running backs here. We have other people who can make plays.”

(surprise people tonight?): “I won’t say we surprised people a lot of people, but I think a lot of people might say we are going to get blown out before the game. We didn’t have a whole week of practice. We even practiced yesterday. (sitting on the bench in the third quarter): It was tough because I had banged up my knee and it was getting stiff. But we were ready to go back in there and play.”

(on the offensive line): “I love those guys. I told them during the Wofford game `You are young. You stick together and we’ll get better. They showed they can do it tonight.”

Kenny McKinley
“It really hurt (his shoulder and the loss). This is the first time I never finished a game (injured left shoulder). I feel like I let my team down. But everybody stepped in and did their part. (Have you stepped up your play?): Sidney is still going to do his thing. I’m just there to take the pressure off him.

“Syvelle did a great job spreading the ball around to all the receivers. A lot of people think he is a running quarterback and he really did the job – he really showed people. We all knew internally we could do it tonight, we could play well: the coaches, the players – I don’t know if the fans thought we could do it, but we did. We thought we could play well.

“It was great college football and I am just happy to be a part of it. Syvelle brings energy out there. He pumps us up in the huddle. I am a glad when I come in the huddle and he looks me in the eyes and I know he can get it done. He knows I can get it done.

“We weren’t coming in here to gain confidence. We were coming in here to get a win and get the job done. I think we played good as the whole team.”

Auburn Player Quotes

Senior Tailback Kenny Irons

On what the game meant:
“This game meant a lot. I have a lot of people doubting me and everything, but I’ve got a great ball team. I came out here with a little chip on my shoulder, but I just came out and played hard.”

On staying concentrated during the game:
“It was pretty hard, but we got the job done. The stadium was pretty loud. The fans don’t die, they keep on going no matter what the score is.”

On leaving Carolina to go to Auburn:
“Things happen for a reason; the Lord has a plan for you and you just have to follow that plan.”

Redshirt Freshman DT Sen’Derrick Marks

On the defensive effort:
“We haven’t played the defense that we usually play in the last two games, but we came out with W’s in the last two games, so we just need to step it up.”

On Syvelle Newton:
“He came through, and that’s what a good quarterback does. I was surprised that he was completing a lot of passes. I thought that we were going to put a lot of pressure on him and make him run. He used his arm and his leg; the speed and the accuracy that he’s got, he used them.”

Senior Kicker Matt Clark

On the onside kick:
“We were planning on it all week. We knew that the guy lined up a little close to the middle of the field and took off a little early, so if we had the chance and went up a couple scores I knew I was going to run it.”

Senior Left Cornerback David Irons

On the final minutes of play:
“Man, it was scary. It felt like the LSU game all over again. We knew that they were going to go to Sidney Rice on that last play, and I had faith in Pat Lee. It was the toughest game they have played all season. They gave it to us.”